The woman or man in the middle, the referee, has a very important role in sport, and their task can be extremely difficult at times. It’s no different in snooker.
A few weeks back I was sitting at a bar, late at night, with a couple of referees, who I won’t name for obvious reasons, and we were discussing rules. Probably aided by a few pints, they revealed that there were discussions under way to change some rules in snooker in order to make the game fairer and cut out “luck”. They said that the initiative was taken after the authorities had been flooded with complaints from fans, and one in particular, a certain Daniel if they remembered well (their memory might have been a bit foggy at the time TBF) or something like that.
I though that today is as good a day as any to share this information and ask you, as fans, what you think of it. So here it is.
- The “hit and hope” to escape from a snooker is no proper shot: it’s relying on pure luck to “solve” a tricky situation. It’s usually played at speed too, and, should the white makes contact with a ball other than a ball on, or the shot results in any sort of foul, it usually sends several balls flying around but doesn’t necessarily leave an easy ball on. In that case, it’s not uncommon that the balls have to be replaced and it’s a nightmare for the referees. Under the new rules, it’s the offending player who will have to replace the balls, under supervision from both the referee and their opponent, until both are satisfied.
- Flukes of course are a plague, they are unfair retribution for missing. Over the course of long matches, usually luck switches from one player to the other and things even themselves naturally. But in short matches, a single fluke can be crucial. Same in a deciding frame. Therefore, in best of seven or shorter matches, and in deciding frames, whatever the length of the match, after a fluke pot, the ball will be taken out of the pocket and any ball that moved as a consequence of the fluke shot will be replaced by the offending player. There will be no penalty though.
- Similarly, in order to cut out carelessness, if balls move because a player dropped an implement on the table, or brushed a ball with their clothes, the offending player will have to replace the balls to the satisfaction of the referee and their opponent.
- Finally, in the Shootout only, in case of a foul, the referee or the offending player, depending on who has to replace the balls according to the new rules, will no more be allowed to ask the marker for help. Instead they will be encouraged to ask for the fans help. This is to increase the viewing public participation and involvement in the match.
What do you guys think of the new ideas? Have your say!